Dec. 29, 2007
MIAMI, Fla. – A valiant effort came up just short for the Florida State women’s basketball team in its upset bid of No. 7 Georgia on the first day of the FIU Fun and Sun Classic. The Seminoles took the Bulldogs to over time, but UGA outscored them 14-5 in the extra period for the 71-62 triumph on Saturday (December 29).
The loss snapped Florida State’s three-game winning streak as it fell to 9-4. The Seminoles are still looking for their first victory over a ranked team in the regular season since February 26, 2006, when they beat No. 17 Boston College. Georgia stayed undefeated at 11-0.
“I’m very excited about the way that we came out and played,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said. “Obviously we’re way over moral victories, that’s certainly not what we were looking for. We wanted to beat this team and really believed we could. I am proud of the way we’re progressing as an eight-player basketball team. We rebounded the ball better than we have all year. To be undersized and to be able to get 22 offensive rebounds against the number seven team in the country, that’s good stuff for us to build on.”
Topping the Seminoles was junior Mara Freshour (Nashville, Ind.) as she scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four assists. Having equally as well a game was rookie Courtney Ward (Montgomery, Ala.) with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. Senior Shante Williams was the third player in double figures at 10 points and seven rebounds.
South Florida native Jacinta Monroe (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) had eight points, six in the second half, and eight rebounds. Antionette Howard (Snellville, Ga.) had six points and three rebounds off the bench.
“Absolutely this was her best game of the year against high competition,” Semrau said of Ward. “Courtney went out there and was fearless. She penetrated, didn’t hesitate to shoot and she played great defense. I’m really excited about her development.”
Matched up against a taller Bulldog squad, Florida State out-rebounded Georgia 47-41 including 22 offensive rebounds, which it converted to 13 second-chance points. FSU also had 13 points from 12 Bulldog turnovers. Neither team shot well with Georgia holding a 40.0 percent (24-of-60) to 31.4 percent (22-of-70) advantage. Both teams hit seven three pointers while Georgia knocked down 16 free throws to the Seminoles’ 11.
A two-minute drought allowed Georgia to establish a 9-4 lead at the start of the game but the Seminoles responded with their own defensive stand that held the Bulldogs scoreless for three minutes. Jumper by Williams and Howard tied the game at nine with 14:28 left in the half. A three pointer by Ward at the 9:45 mark gave Florida State it’s first lead (12-11).
Unfortunately, the Seminoles would only make one basket during a three-minute period that allowed Georgia to reestablish a 15-20 margin with 9:30 remaining. A basket by Cayla Moore (Albany, Ga.) and Ward’s second three-pointer of the half pulled FSU to 21-22 with 4:53 to play. Florida State got the lead back (23-22) at the 1:52 mark on a Howard jumper. The two teams would trade baskets the rest of the half with Georgia taking a 26-25 margin into the locker room.
Even though Florida State had a sub-par half of shooting at 34.5 percent (10-of-29) it limited Georgia to 40.0 percent (10-of-25). Both teams hit a trio of three pointers and Georgia had one more free throw (3-to-2). Florida State out-rebounded the Bulldogs to the tune of 20-16, including 11 on the offensive glass. Georgia used its height advantage on the inside for a 12-to-2 advantage in points in the paint.
Leading all scorers in the first half was Ward as she put up nine, followed by Freshour with six. Monroe grabbed five rebounds while Ward was one behind and had a trio of assists.
Out of the locker room Georgia quickly established the lead again as it scored five points in the first minute for a six point lead (31-25). Freshour and Williams cut the deficit, but Georgia went on a 7-0 run to get it back to 36-29. Back-to-back threes by Ward and Freshour sliced the lead to three (38-35). Alysha Harvin (Dania, Fla.) knocked down two free throws then a great a pass by Freshour led to a Howard lay-up that gave FSU a 39-38 lead at the 14:04 mark.
Georgia got the lead back, 41-39, but FSU played tremendous defense and didn’t allow Georgia to score a point for over four and a half minutes. Freshour hit a trio of free throws to give the lead back to Florida State, 42-4. A put back by Monroe gave the Seminoles a three-point lead (48-45), but Georgia scored five unanswered points to take a 50-48 lead.
Monroe tied the game at 50 and 52 then Freshour gave Florida State the lead back, 55-52 with a three pointer at the 2:45 mark. Williams nailed a jumper 40 seconds later to put the Seminoles up 57-52. Georgia answered with five points in the last 1:11 and Williams’ jumper came up short as the game went into overtime.
In the overtime the Bulldogs scored the first four points of the period before Williams hit a jumper to make it a 61-59 game at the 3:41 mark. Unfortunately, Georgia went on a 7-0 run to take a 68-59 advantage and the Seminoles only points the rest of the overtime were a Freshour three pointer. Georgia grabbed three offensive rebounds during one possession to keep the ball out of FSU’s hands and hit eight free throws to close out the game.
The Seminoles play their second game of the FIU Fun & Sun Classic in the consolation game against Hostra at 5:30 p.m. The game can be heard 100.7 FM and Seminoles.com.